Some Terrible Apartments in Paris

I know I tend to only ever wax poetic about Paris and its many luxurious, drool-worthy apartments (see: here) but it’s not because I’m unaware of the grim reality of the affordable real estate available there. If anything, it’s precisely because I’m aware of how many absurdly small, one-room hovels (that will still cost you €100k!) the city has that I instead choose to focus on the unattainable, multi-million euro sprawling ones. But for a change of pace, I thought it might be fun to see what I could afford, right now, without mortgaging myself to the hilt or robbing a bank or becoming the next JK Rowling. The results were…less than stellar.

For those of you unfamiliar with Parisian real estate, the top floor of nearly all Haussmann buildings were at one time maids quarters, often referred to as a chambre de bonne, chambre de service, or a studette, which are single-room living spaces, usually under 100ft2, with a shared toilet in the hall. For someone like me, the daughter of an architect who championed small-space living, I get such a thrill at a seeing smartly renovated chambre de bonne. The challenge of designing and living in a space barely larger than most powder rooms is one I’d happily take on, especially if it meant, you know, being in Paris. Which is good, because apparently this is all my savings can buy me. So while these apartments are, shall we say, terrible, there is so much room for improvement that all I can see is potential.


1. First up we have this 6m2 (65ft2) room in the 10eme, near Canal Saint Martin:

Apartment 1

Apartment 1

Apartment 1

It’s listed as a “one bedroom” but really, it’s one empty room, with one teensy (but cute) window. The toilet is in the hallway, the sink is on the landing, and it appears there’s a water hookup line available in the apartment itself, but no shower or kitchen sink.

Price: €54,000

2. Next, we have…whatever is happening here:

Apartment 2

Apartment 2

Located in the 10eme, near Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, the listing says it is about 10m2 of living space, with a shower, a well-equipped kitchen, and a toilet in the hall. “Ideal pied-a-terre,” it says! The only thing I can see is a twin mattress shoved under a skylight, with a water tank floating precariously above it.

Yours for only €52,500!

3. Moving right along, we have this apartment, also in the 10eme:

Apartment 3

Apartment 3

It is a whopping 9m2, with a small balcony you probably shouldn’t stand on, a small but functional kitchen (who is cooking in Paris with some of the best restaurants right outside your door?) and a lofted bed. Smart space solution! Bathroom is in the hall. I want to scrub this entire place down with bleach.

Price: €79,000, jfc.

4. This charmer is a spacious 15m2, in the 9eme:

Apartment 4

Apartment 4

Apartment 4

It features a separate bedroom (!), a shower right next to the kitchen, and a murder-y looking hallway and stairwell. It also features a shared toilet you’d need both tetanus shot and a regular shot of the highest proof vodka you can find to actually pee in.

Price: €129,000, and the saddest part is it still seems a worthwhile splurge.


22 thoughts on “Some Terrible Apartments in Paris

  1. This was a wonderful way to start my Tuesday morning! It had me both laughing, and crying TBH. Things like this make me feel like I will never be able to afford to buy an apartment – anywhere – ever!

      1. I don’t even want to think about that. I’d wear four pairs of gloves and I’d still feel dirty. xo

    1. Haha, I know! It had me feeling really grateful for the comparatively cheap and clean housing options here in Philly! xo

  2. They also don’t mention that included in the (insane) price for these studettes, you get the pleasure of living next to seven or eight “clochardes”- who, probably due to the fact there are no showers, don’t BATHE and often have a pet and generally make the top floor smell like rancid, decaying body at ALL TIMES. Seriously, last summer we had to ask our concierge to go and knock on all the doors, so certain were we that someone had passed away up there and was eventually going to rot through the floor and end up in someone’s flat. Once I needed some tools from the toolbox we keep up there, and went up at night to try and find them. There was a man just standing in a dressing gown, unmoving at the end of the hallway when I switched on the light. I am never going up there again. SWURRZ,

    1. I am still undeterred from my fantasy of living in one of these tiny hovels! Except maybe I’ll bring tons of air freshener and do frequent checks on mes voisins, haha. You’ll have to show me the creepy upstairs hallway lurker next time I’m over! If you can pull me away from munching on Colin’s ears, that is. xo

  3. Eeek! This reminds me of my Parisian flat-hunting time, a very long time ago (renting, not buying). We visited a lot of terrible flats at the time. A LOT. But we were really lucky in the end, and ended up with a lovely (tiny, but lovely) flat which became our home for several years. But I’ve heard many, many, MANY horror stories from friends throughout the years.

    1. Eeps! For as many horror stories as there are out there, there is no shortage of gorgeous, lovely, light-filled, clean apartments either. It gives me hope for the future! ;) xo

    1. Haha, Philly’s rental market is pretty great, honestly. I haven’t rented in a few years, but I never had a problem finding places, especially ones that looked absolutely nothing like these, haha. xo

    1. I can’t imagine being an adult and sharing an uncleaned toilet with strangers. That’s why I didn’t even live in a dorm on campus when I was in college, and opted for getting an apartment off campus. Wasn’t going to happen when I was young and dumb! Sure ain’t gonna happen in my advanced age ;) xo

    1. Haha, it could always be worse! Parisian apartment sales make me grateful for my living situation. :) xo

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